Thursday, September 29, 2011

Behavior Modification

My kids are four years apart. One's a bossy girl; the other is a stubborn boy. They do have many really good, wonderful qualities, but that's not what today's post is about.

Because one is bossy and the other one is stubborn, and there's a four-year differential, there tends to be lots of room for bickering. I'm sure if you have kids, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Anyway, all the bickering this summer left me pulling out my hair. About a month ago, I finally lost it. Oh man, did I lose it.

After telling them to get out of my sight, I thought to myself, "Why should I be the one to lose it? They're the ones who should be losing something." So I went to my husband, who had a great idea.

"Give them the chore you hate doing the most, and make them do it every time they fight."

Mopping, it is. I called them out of their rooms and taught them how to properly mop our kitchen floor, beginning with removing all the chairs to the living room. Sweep, swiffer, mop. Get down on your hands and knees if there's a stubborn spot. I taught them this while sitting like a queen on a throne. It was all very Cinderella-ish.

Today they were fighting over taking turns on the Wii -- to the point, mind you, that one was ripping the batteries out of the balance board. The old me would have yelled and sent them to their rooms. The new me? I very calmly said, "Turn it off and go mop." They very nearly began to bicker over who would do what, when I calmly reminded them that I could very easily add the bathroom floors to their punishment.

They're about half-way done as I type this.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ego Boost

So I'm lucky enough to live in the same community as a certain author who has published many, many books. Last month I found out about a writing class he was offering and immediately signed up. Besides the many wonderful things he is teaching us, we also have the chance to get our writing samples critiqued. It's always a little nerve-racking to have other people look at what I've written; especially when it's done by someone who has actually made a successful career out of writing, himself!

So when it came around to my turn, I braced myself for the impact. He asked others in the group what their opinions were. They offered some helpful insights and I, not being allowed to comment until the critique was over, wrote them down. The teacher joined in on the discussion pointing out a few things here and there -- all helpful. Then, at the end, he looked me in the eye and said, "You're already a good writer and you don't need me."

Wow. I'll be riding high on that one for a while.**

**Even though the fact remains, that I do need and will take all the help I can get!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Goodbye Summer, Hello Apple Tart

Check out this cool spider web I discovered on our back door this morning!

As you can see in the picture below, fall is upon us. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I do lament the loss of summer. 

And while I feel a loss when the leaves start to turn, fall does bring with it some very nice things. Like beautiful hillsides. And soup and hot rolls. Pleasant days and crisp mornings (we'll not mention what the nights are like around here). And of course, candy corn!

But let's not forget the apples. I saw this apple tart recipe being made on T.V. the other day. Now, a baker, I am not. I have a sister and a sister-in-law and a niece who can bake circles around me. I can cook you the most fabulous dinner (my roast chicken and rosemary potatoes are to die for (if I do say so myself)) but don't expect anything for dessert, unless you bring it yourself. I have a list of about 4 cookies that I can make that usually turn out well. But when I saw this on T.V. last week, the lady making it said, "anybody can make this." So I did! My husband ate about half of it himself and then had what was left for breakfast this morning.

I'd consider that a pretty good beginning to Fall.

Want the recipe? Click here.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Finding the Magic!

I came across this quote this morning and immediately fell in love with it. Then I saw it was by Roald Dahl, one of my all-time favorite children's authors! (You know, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, etc.).

So I'm off to find the magic for today... I hope you do the same!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Settling In

So this is what I'm calling my "settling in" week. This morning I spent a few hours sorting and packing and organizing all the stuff I brought home from school. Which lead to cleaning out the basement closet. Which lead to organizing the basement cabinets. Which lead, of course, to cleaning out the upstairs hallway. And the laundry room.

Who says I quit working?

Thankfully, I was rescued at 12:45 by a friend who showed up in her red convertible Alfa Romeo. We went to lunch, drove around in the car, and stole tomatoes from my grandma's garden.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Holy Moly! I Quit My Job!

Today is the first day of kindergarten. And I'm not there! It may be absolute insanity to quit your job in the middle of one of the worst economies in history, but I had to do it. During this absolutely fabulous summer, in which I hiked, camped, boated, and swam, there was a little thought nagging me. But I ignored it. The thought kept nagging on, and I kept ignoring. Then it was time for teachers to go back to school. I told myself I could do it. By day 3, I knew what I had to do. So I did. It was tough. But once I made the decision, oh what relief I felt! The nagging thought was, "My kids first. Other people's kids second." Not that I don't like other people's kids. I do. But I love mine the most. And I know what you're thinking. But it's not the case. I leave before my kids do. I'm often not home before mine get home. I very often bring my own work home, making me unable or too tired to help them with their school work. In other words, I was putting it all into my job and not saving much for them.

Six years. That's how long I have until my daughter goes to college. We've lived in Utah for six years and the time has flown by like THAT (imagine finger snapping). When I told her I quit my job, she threw her arms into the air and cheered. That was all I needed to know I'd made the right decision.

As I drove my third grader to school this morning, he was almost giddy that he was in the front seat of our Tahoe, rather than on the bus. "This is so awesome," he giggled.

My kids first.

Beyond that, I feel so liberated! My mind is swimming with possibilities. I get to volunteer in my kids' classrooms. I have lots of time to WRITE. There are two pieces of furniture in my basement that I'm going to refinish. I'm going to figure out what the heck that noise is coming from the rear end of my car. It's like the Renaissance is starting and I'm the one holding the paint brush. SWEET! The possibilities are endless. Thankfully I have an awesome hubby who is a much harder worker than I am, and is supportive of whatever I do.

So it's a little like starting over, but in a really, really good way. I'm refocusing. I'm re-prioritizing. If we end up needing the money, we'll find a way. I saw this quote a while back, and I am inspired:

"Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think that you've lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. AND NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME."